Stake your claim on the web

Making the Most of Completed Auctions on Ebay

There are a number of ways you can advertise your store through your current auctions, driving traffic to your Ebay store from each listing even if the auction itself doesn’t get any bids. Besides current auctions, you can also benefit from completed listings. Completed listings are items that have already sold, whether they’ve had a successful bidder or not.

First of all, you’ll need to run your auction smoothly and have a great title chosen already. Consider your completed items another advertisement for your store. While buyers have to be logged in to view completed listings on Ebay, they can sometimes surface in the search results even after the item is over.

To take the most advantage of this, you should try to have a few links throughout your content to your store. The Auctiva window is an excellent example of how you can advertise your current items in an expired listing. While that item may not be available, the buyer might be interested in an identical or similar item featured in your Auctiva store window. These are free, and will pull some of your current auction items (you can specify which ones you’d like to have featured).

Another way to get buyers to your store from expired auctions is to turn the store listing frame on. This will feature five deep links to categories within your store. In addition to this, you can have a banner and/or text links within the content of every auction that you run. For the best results, try to link to similar categories of your store that the buyer might be interested in. Some captivating copy that entices the buyer to click on your current items can’t hurt either. Something like:

“Find our current auction items for brand new Craftsman Power Drills here”

would work perfectly. If you’re running an incentive, like free shipping, reduced shipping, a free accessory, or some other promotion, put that into the anchor link text as well. The more reasons you can give them to click, the more traffic you’ll receive to your store.

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How to Sell on Ebay for the First Time

Sell Your Stuff on Ebay for the First Time with this Easy Tutorial

Have some stuff around your house that you need to get rid of, and you’d like want to make some cash? Selling it on Ebay is easy, quick, and profitable. This tutorial will walk you through step by step how to sell on Ebay for the first time, with photos, tips, and links to other tutorials to get you started. Don’t be intimidated if you haven’t sold on Ebay, it’s a simple process that can yield excellent results time and again.

Register for Your Ebay Account

Head to Ebay.com and register for your account. If you haven’t purchased anything from Ebay before or sold, setting up an account will only take a few minutes.

  1. Click “register” at the top of the Ebay home page.
  2. Fill in the Ebay contact information and fill in all of the fields.
  3. Choose your Ebay seller ID (choose something that will reflect what you sell for best results).
  4. Choose your password (make it something no one will ever guess, like random numbers and letters, including dollar signs, pound signs, upper case and lower case letters).
  5. Enter the captcha code in the box to make sure you aren’t a robot.
  6. Confirm your account by checking the email account that you entered into the registration.
  7. Click through the email message to confirm.
  8. Now your account is active!

What You’ll Need

Selling on Ebay will require a few small things.

  1. A PayPal account.
  2. A physical address and credit card or bank account that fees can be billed to.
  3. Some supplies to ship out your items once they sell.
  4. A digital camera to take photos of your items.
  5. A PayPal account will only take a few minutes to set up. PayPal will protect both the buyer and seller’s sensitive information like credit card numbers and bank account numbers. PayPal will also take approximately 3% of your total item price (including shipping), which is about the norm with credit card transaction fees.

Researching Completed Ebay Auctions

So you have your digital camera or phone, your PayPal and Ebay accounts are set up, you have your shipping supplies, and you’re ready to go.

First, you’ll want to see what the item is selling for on Ebay to see if the item is currently selling for a price you’ll be happy with. Simply type the name of the item into the search box, then check off ”completed items” in the left sidebar. The completed items list will display items that have already sold (auctions that have ended). Include a brand name if applicable, model number, or color to refine the results further. Items in green are items that have sold, along with the final bid price. Prices in red mean the item did not sell. Study the auctions that have sold, and see what you like about their auctions.

Taking Photos of Your Ebay Items

Taking photos for Ebay items is a critical step to get attention, traffic and buyers to your item. The higher the worth of the item, the more pictures you’ll want to have in the auction. You can use Ebay’s upload system, but they’ll charge for each additional picture. Upload one picture through Ebay as your gallery photo, which will be a thumbnail in the search results (don’t skip this step, it’s crucial!).

Ebay includes up to twelve photos per item. These should be used. However, if you’d like to include additional ones, you’ll have to host them on your own and paste the code into the HTML of the auction.

What to Take Photos Of:

  • Tags
  • Condition (any scuffs, marks, flaws)
  • The inside of the item (if possible)
  • Any special features (a hidden zipper, a special edition, anything that makes the item unique)
  • The packaging
  • Authenticity certificates, serial numbers, or included pamphlets, literature, or manuals
  • Close up details to emphasize the quality
  • Photos from all angles, including any defects, flaws, or special attributes

Describing Your Item

The description of your item is something new sellers tend to skip over when starting out. Your buyer is looking to find out as much as possible about item through words and photos, so you need to provide them with the information necessary, no matter how small the item, or how insignificant you think that it is.

Things to Describe:

  • Condition
  • Color
  • Any items included like tags, receipts, etc.
  • Height, width, length
  • Measure specific parts of the item (like inseam on pants, inches across on a monitor)
  • Tell them how they can find out more about the item (as in a website that might have information on parts, warranties, repair, directions, downloads, etc.)

You’ll Also Want to Include:

  • Your terms — whether you accept returns (make them feel confident to buy from you)
  • What shipping service you use
  • When you ship the item, and if/when tracking is provided
  • How to contact you

You can also make your auction stand out more and look more professional using:

  • Bold, italics, and underline in moderation
  • Larger size fonts, center align the text
  • Auction templates which make your auction more attractive
  • Bullets and numbers to organize text

Choosing the Run Time for Your Auction

You can choose 1 day, 3 day, 5 day, or 7 day auctions for most categories on Ebay, as well as 10 day. The 10 day auction format is best used for expensive items. Time your auctions to end at a time when you think buyers will be at their computers. Sunday night is a popular night on Ebay, but Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are also high traffic. During the midday of a work week is also high traffic for certain items. You can schedule your auctions to end using the options right in your listing. These are in Pacific time (PST).

Setting Your Shipping Price

Your shipping price should be fair and cover your own shipping costs. As time goes on, buyers are looking for free shipping to be included more and more in their auctions. If the item is very expensive and lightweight, this might be a profitable option for you. If the item is cheap, but heavy to ship, you may want to group it together with similar items so buyers can save on shipping.

Buying a scale is a good investment if you plan on selling long term on Ebay. Any office supply store will have a scale, while USPS offers scales that can be used in addition to their “Click N Ship” program, which allows you to print labels in your own home. It’s important to get a good estimate of shipping costs before listing your item, so purchase a scale and head to USPS.com or UPS.com to calculate shipping. USPS offers flat rate boxes to ship anywhere in the United States for a flat fee. You can order them through their website and they’ll be delivered for free to your home, or you can pick them at your local post office. As a general guideline, USPS has lower rates and ships quicker on lightweight items, while UPS offers reasonable rates on heavy items, especially when shipped long distances (as well as free tracking). UPS also offers convenient pickup service for businesses (this could include you, as a frequent shipper).

Shipping is easy once you learn how. You can learn how to ship Ebay items here. The shipping process is key, so be sure to read the tutorial to ensure your packages get there in one piece.

When shipping your items, every item will need:

  • Delivery confirmation/tracking
  • To be securely packed
  • Signature confirmation and/or insurance for high worth items
  • Keep your receipts and tracking for your own records. Buyers usually want to know when their item was shipped and when it will arrive, so having tracking handy (and even emailing the tracking to them before they ask) is a good idea.

Buyer Feedback and Seller Ratings

Feedback is what determines your reputation as a seller, and it’s essential that you keep it spotless. As long as you ship quickly, charge reasonable shipping rates, describe your item properly, and are willing to work through any possible problems buyers might have, your feedback should remain good. Buyers will also be able to rate you on one to five scale for shipping time, shipping rates, communication, and if the item was as described.

You can also leave feedback for the buyer, but only positive. Any negatives that you receive can directly impact your score, and your business. Keep it high by telling yourself “the customer is always right!” In the long run, this will help you more than hurt you in getting positive feedbacks on Ebay.

Sell in Quantity and Get More Bids

When you sell multiple items at once and have many auctions running at the same time (as long as the items are all different), all of your auctions will generally receive more traffic and bids. As buyers view your items, they might see what else you have for sale. Here are a few ideas to get traffic flowing between items, and increasing bids:

  • Link items together, and link to all of your auction items. Ebay has a link tool inside the auction that makes it easy.
  • Offer combined shipping rates for buying more than one item. Those flat rate boxes USPS offers come in handy at this point.
  • Don’t have the same item ending back to back with an identical item. Space them out by hours or days.
  • Have similar items ending close together to encourage multiple bids and buys.

Some Things to Avoid When Selling for the First Time on Ebay

When your first starting out selling, you’ll might be eager to get a big jumpstart, but starting slow can make the most financial sense, and will help build your reputation. As you sell more, you’ll learn more, get better at selling, and learn what your buyers want.

Try to avoid:

  • Opening a store right away. Sell at least a few dozen items before you commit to opening a store. Stores make sense only if you plan on selling on Ebay long termover years.
  • Drop shipping. This sounds tempting, but it’s almost always too good to be true.
  • Investing in high priced items to resell. Sell off your old used clothing, sell off your friends, family and neighbors stuff (while you take a cut), or sell handmade items to start out. Investing capital can stop you right in your tracks.
  • Using a reserve price. These never work.
  • Setting the price far too low on an item that’s worth a lot of money. Start the auction at a price you’re happy with selling in case the item only gets one bid.

Now that you’ve learned the ropes, try it out! Let us know how you’ve succeeded so far at Ebay, or if there have been any roadblocks on your journey. Be sure to read our other Ebay guides to get you started!

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How to Package Ebay Items

Package Your Ebay Items to Ship Safely, Securely and Quickly

Wondering how to ship your Ebay items, and package them correctly? This guide will walk you through the process of safely packing, preparing, and shipping your items for safe delivery to your customers.

Assuming you’ve sold your item, the buyer has paid, and the money has cleared via Paypal, now it’s time to ship your item. It’s your job as a seller to get the item to the buyer safely and intact. Most shipping breakages are caused by improperly packaged items. Do it the right way from the start and avoid headaches from buyer disputes and returns. Buyer disputes, breakages, and email communication about breakages can cost you money and time. When a buyer opens the package, your making a first impression. Not only will you cut down on costs by reducing return rates, you’ll gain a potential repeat customer.

Size Up Your Items, Charge The Right Shipping Rate

Before you even list your Ebay item, you’ll need a scale to find out the weight of the item when it’s packaged. Purchase a scale from USPS, or use your own mail scale to give an accurate weight. Ebay has a shipping calculator, which does not take into account extra charges like delivery confirmation, so keep that in mind. Build in enough of a cushion to cover your items, while still being competitively priced in shipping. Also, keep in mind your cost of shipping — gas to deliver the items, bubble wrap, tape and peanuts all add up. You may want to add insurance as optional or required for your item, depending on the worth.

Pick the Right Size Box

After your item has sold, it’s time to ship it out fast so the buyer will give you some positive feedback. Take your items and place them inside a box that’s big enough for the items, but not so big that the items are floating around during shipping. USPS has a full range of free boxes for Priority shipping, a reliable service that usually only takes 3 days at the most anywhere in the United States. While you’re at it, you can ask the USPS to save good condition previously used boxes for you. They’ll gladly do so. Dumpster space costs money, and so does disposal, so you’d be saving them money. If you’re an Amazon shopper, you’ll likely have plenty of boxes as well.

packing ebay items

Place the items in a way that makes sense to ship out.If the items are small, package them two at a time, with the flattest sides facing each other.

bubble wrap

Take a piece of bubble wrap that adequately covers the entire surface of the items and wrap them up tightly. Tape it closed.

bubble wrap fragile items

Fold in the ends and tape it shut.

bubble wrap

Bubble wrap: you’ll need plenty of this before you sell anything fragile on Ebay. Accept no substitutes.

Buy Bubble Wrap on Ebay.. It’s Much Cheaper

Bubble wrap is cheapest on Ebay. Don’t buy it in stores, buy it in bulk on Ebay and support a fellow seller. Many bubble wrap items on Ebay are also sold with free shipping, so it doesn’t even make sense to buy it anywhere else. You might even (slowly) rack up some Ebay Bucks.

Wrapping Your Items with Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap is the preferred way to ship most items. Tear off a piece of bubble wrap that covers more than the surface of the item, and wrap the item as tight as possible around the item(s). Next, tape the bubble wrap to itself so it’s tightly wrapped around. Fold in the sides, and tape the sides closed. Use extra tape if necessary to protect any loose areas of bubble wrap.

Next, you’ll want to place your items in the box in a way that makes sense. Keep your items away from the sides of the box if possible to minimize damage. Place flat edges of items against each other during shipping. Fill the box with peanuts to the rim, and tape the top of the box securely as well as the bottom. Use more than one piece of tape if the box is heavy. Keep in mind as well, that some shipping insurance rules state there must be adequate buffer around the product in order to receive any compensation for potential damages.

A quick way to save some extra money on bubble wrap is to save it from purchases that you make online. There are many places that throw away bubble wrap and packing peanuts, from post offices to grocery stores and malls. Check with them and they might have it for free.

packing peanuts

Fill the box entirely with packing peanuts to the rim.

fragile sign

Tape the box shut securely, and add the printed label (or hand written label) that you are going to use.

Attach a Label and Ship it Out

Next, attach the label to the top of the box. You can alternatively print your own label from USPS and get free delivery confirmation. Ebay and Paypal also offer their own portals to print shipping labels.

Next, bring it into your USPS office and ship it out! If the shipping service you chose does not come with it, consider purchasing delivery confirmation, it’s worth every penny. If you decide to use UPS rather than USPS, they offer free tracking on all items. They also offer insurance for loss or damage on the first $100 and offer easy scheduled pickups, which is why many large sellers do choose to use UPS.

While You’re at the Post Office or Before Package Pickup

Once you’ve packed up your items, it’s time to drop them off to your local post office. If you’ve used the Click N’ Ship program to place labels on the boxes, this will save the USPS clerks a lot of time, and will save you money as well. In my experience, other customers can get irritated if you have a huge lot of items to ship out while they’re behind you waiting to buy some stamps. This in turn can get the clerk on edge, and that’s the last thing you want when they’re handling your items.

Placing all of the items in a large sac (they may allow you to borrow one at USPS) is one of the best ways to transport items from car to store. Give them a quick once over when you hand them to the clerk to make sure you’ve filled out everything correctly. Also, be sure to keep all of your USPS expenses tidy by using one credit card to track your purchases. Using a card over cash is recommended, since you’ll be protected by the credit card company if you need to dispute any charges. It will also neatly organize the expenses all on one card, so come end of the year, it can be pretty easy to add it all up. Keep the physical receipts as well, or print online and store for tax purposes.

Once you’ve handed over the packages, your part is done. Tracking will automatically be sent to the buyer if you use Ebay and pay for the shipping through Ebay. A job well done will help you get more positive feedback and repeat customers. Good luck!

Other Helpful Ebay Guides:

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How to Drive Traffic With Ebay Guides

Ebay introduced Ebay Guides in the mid 2000’s, a great resource for buyers, and a great opportunity for sellers. Ebay Guides are simply guides that Ebay users can create on any topic they wish. If you sell on Ebay, it can be to your advantage to write an informative guide about the items that you sell. This can drive traffic to your About ME Page, auctions, and most importantly, your Ebay store. Note that the rules are restricted to linking to your Ebay pages only.

Link to Your Ebay Store in Guides

Ebay Guides do not allow linking to external websites, but they do allow you to link anywhere within Ebay. This is where you can capitalize and promote your store. You’ll also want to take advantage and link to your other Ebay guides within your guide, so you’ll have a good flow of traffic between guides. If your guides are good enough and it builds credibility with a potential buyer, they could get curious and visit your store, especially if what you are writing about is just what they are looking for.

Add Images to Your Guides

Ebay allows you to add images to your Guide (as of the publication of this page). Add some relevant pictures, along with a link underneath to a section of your store. For example, let’s say you have an Ebay store selling sneakers. Write a guide on Chuck Taylors, and place a link underneath one of the pictures to the Chuck Taylor section of your Ebay store. Provide some information on the background of the company, tips on buying them, how the sizes run, and maybe a little history on that particular style. Then, this is where you might come in and link to your section of Chuck Taylor shoes on Ebay.

Ebay Guides Index Well in Search Engines

Ebay Guides index well with search engines…so well, in fact, that they often come up on the first page for search results of certain terms! They seem to have captured and retained good authority with Google over the years.  A link from your high ranking guide to your Ebay store could potentially give you a tiny boost in search engine traffic, especially if you have quite a few of these high ranking guides.

You’ll also want to take advantage of the “heading” tags in the guides. Use the “heading 1″ tag for the title of the article. Use the “Heading 2″ tag for titles of specific sections within the guide, and reserve the “heading 3″ tag for a subtitle for sections.

Keyword research would also be a good thing to consider for your guide. Like any other page on the web, find a search term that you are targeting and focus the guide around that.

At the bottom of the guide, you’ll need to tag your guide. Tags work different on many websites, but with Ebay, it’s a way for other visitors within Ebay to find your guide. Keep them broad, but keyword filled — maybe only 2-3 words at the most for each tag. You are allowed up to five.

Become a Top Reviewer on Ebay

If you have enough guides, you can easily become a top reviewer on Ebay and have an extra icon next to your User ID. This is great way to establish your reputation, and instill further trust in your buyers. Registered Ebay users can vote “yes” or “no” on your guide, boosting it or burying it amongst the top guides. To encourage more votes, you can link to your guide within your auctions. Link to the ones that make sense for the best results. Of course, you could possibly lose a sale when a buyer clicks out of your auction and into your guide. That’s why it’s so important to link to your store throughout your guide multiple times.

Success With Guides

It’s not uncommon that you’ll have thousands of visitors heading to your Ebay guide. Over time, your guide will start to get voted on and receive traffic. Your hard work shouldn’t end there though! Back up all of your guides in a text document, just in case Ebay decides to pull the plug on your guide. If you follow their agreement, you shouldn’t have any problem, but  back it up anyway! That way you can either republish it on Ebay or elsewhere online.

So how do you know how many visitors are headed to your store? Install Google Analytics on your store, or analyze the traffic reports to see where the traffic is coming from.

 

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